Errors from Manual Data Entry and How to Avoid Them

Everybody makes mistakes; we’re only human. When entering data into an excel file or on paperwork, there is always a possibility for an error. Although not intentional, these errors could have severe repercussions for the person who made them and for the company. A person never means to harm but nonetheless they may cause huge problems. Let’s examine the most common types of human errors caused by manual data entry and what we can do to avoid them.

human errors caused by manual data entry
Common Types of Human Errors  

Human error is unpredictable and there are various kinds of mistakes that can happen in the workplace. One type of error is a slip. A slip is when you do something by accident or unintentionally. For example, if a person were to put a file in the wrong folder, this would be a slip. A lapse is another common type of human error. This is when you forget to do or finish a task. The severity of the potential problem is dependent on the importance of the job. In addition, mistakes are human errors where people fail at making proper decisions. When tasked with deciding between further negotiating a deal or accepting an offer, a person could choose the wrong option and make a mistake.

Reason for Errors

There are many reasons for such errors to occur. Some people may not care about the repercussions of their actions. They may become too comfortable and even overconfident and neglect caution when they are doing their work.

Another cause of human error is distractions. Offices provide endless distractions with their open floor plans, constant buzz, phones ringing, and people stopping by each other’s desks. On the other hand, working from home may not be ideal either, if you share a small space with young children, barking dogs, or loud family members.

If a person is tired, stressed, overwhelmed, or working too fast, this also leaves room for error.

Finally, one of the significant reasons for error is inadequate training. Without enough experience and training, people will make more mistakes. 

Repercussions from Errors

Human errors can be mild or very serious, depending on the gravity of the consequences. Some repercussions for milder issues could be reprimanding the employee and ensuring they see their mistake, so it does not happen again. However, more serious errors may have severe repercussions.

For example, if an accountant were to add an extra three 0’s to the end of a statement, saying they are reporting for 100,000,000 instead of 100,000, this would be a severe issue. The company could incur fines or other penalties by the authorities, and the employee may lose their job.

Reporting incorrect student data to the state may result in terminated funding for an educational organization. This is another example of how problematic human errors could be. They may have been unintentional, but may still cause a lot of trouble for the organization. 

Ways to Prevent 
human errors

To prevent errors, businesses must train their employees well. Without proper training and data integrity procedures in place, knowledge workers will make significant mistakes more often. Companies must administer refresher courses throughout the year, so people continue to follow data integrity best practices.

Enforcing impossible deadlines is a sure invitation to a lot of errors. Planning ahead and allowing enough time for employees to complete and check their work before they submit is a must.

A company must also have a plan in place for finding and fixing issues. Employees need access to tools to avoid errors altogether or make them easier to discover and fix. There are certain best practices that significantly reduce errors and improve the quality of a product or service. For example, having a backup of the data, performing regular audits, and employing automation are some examples of such practices.

And last but not least, when you know you have important data to work with, it is best not to rush, but to relax and to get a good night’s rest. Schedule your most demanding pieces of work for when you can limit the distractions to a minimum.

As stated, human errors are inevitable. You can not prevent people from messing up when doing work manually. There will always be a time when someone slips up and makes a mistake – large or small. However, there are automation tools that can help. Applications like Simply Flows can help eradicate manual data entry errors and help your company run efficiently.